Glory Middleweight champion Joe “Stitch ‘Em Up” Schilling will be stepping into the ring against Wayne Barrett at Glory 12, Nov. 23. The event takes place at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. The event will be broadcasted on Spike TV.
In his last fight he defeated Artem Levin in the finals of the Glory World Middleweight Championship Tournament back in September.
Schilling took some time out of his training and press schedule to answer some questions.
Joe Schilling: Hi Al, how are you doing?
Fansided.com: Good Joe, how are you?
JS: I’m doing good. It’s been a busy day, I’m sorry I missed you earlier. They had me running around doing all kinds of stuff.
FS: No worries. I saw the conference call was earlier today so I thought Spike and Glory has him doing the rounds. Anyways, welcome aboard. You’ve got a big fight coming up tomorrow. How has training been going for you? In a pre-fight interview you mentioned that you have been training harder than ever before. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
JS: I’ve been training really hard for this fight. I kind of took pretty quick after my last fight. I had about three weeks off and jumped right back into training camp. It’s been going really well. We’ve made some big improvements in my game and I’m really looking forward to showing off my new skills this Saturday.
FS: We’ll get to the fight in a moment. You started kickboxing when you were a teenager. Over the years I noticed you dabbled a little bit in MMA and boxing. What is it about kickboxing and Muay Thai that keeps you coming back to the sport?
JS: I’ve always trained in Muay Thai. It was my first love and I’ve been training since I was 15 years old. The reason I did MMA and boxing was because there wasn’t enough Muay Thai fights or kickboxing fights to keep me busy. I’ve been chasing this dream and trying to make a living off of it and I can’t consider myself a professional fighter if I don’t stay consistently fighting. I got to pay the bills and take care of my family.
When I wasn’t getting any kickboxing fights, I would take boxing fights to try and get experience. I did okay in boxing, I had a few amateur fights. I’m a pretty good boxer. In MMA, I have a terrible record. I’m 1-3. I just never quite grasped the ground game and MMA as a whole. That was about six or seven years ago. I’ve been doing really well in kickboxing and Muay Thai the last four or five years and now that Glory has come along and doing well, I’m finally able to take care of my family.
FS: Speaking of that Glory win, you have been an interim champion and a United States champion. What was it like to win your first Glory world tournament title? I’m pretty sure you are also recognized as the Glory Middleweight champion. What was that feeling winning that beautiful looking belt and that check for $150,000.
JS: The best word to describe it was satisfying. It’s a dream come true for me that I worked really hard at. I was trying to stay positive and believe in myself when doors were getting slammed shut in my face. I had to take my lumps and learn the lessons the hard way. I kept thinking throughout that training camp that if I work hard and believe in myself that I can do this. I wanted to show that to my kids.
It worked out and that moment it happened, it was very satisfying, to know that I wasn’t wrong all of this time.
FS: Kind of before that, you traveled across the country and faced a lot of challenges. What were some of the things that kept you going during those difficult times?
JS: I was telling someone earlier today, when I was 19, I moved across the country to pursue a career in kickboxing and Muay Thai. When I left home, I was always welcome to come back, but it was not in my personality to fail and tuck my tail between my legs, come back home and admit I was wrong. Once I made that choice, in my mind, I didn’t have another option. It absolutely had to work.
Down the road I had knee surgeries and was out for a year. It was really trying for me. It would have been easy to give it up then. I had a gym at that point and could have just become a full-time trainer. I didn’t want to accept or admit that I had failed so I kept pushing and pushing and pushing.
Every time I was right about to quit, something good would happen and lift me up. You run into another obstacle and you believe that it’s going to get better. I kept working hard and here I am now. 14 years later and it’s starting to pay off.
FS: Nice. In your last fight, you beat Levin. Really impressive I might add.
JS: Thank you
FS: You’re welcome. Many considered Levin as the top guy in your division while you were kind of the underdog in the fight. Now the roles are reversed and you are in that top spot while Barrett is that up-and-comer. What is your mindset going into this fight against a hyped-up hot shot rookie?
JS: I’ve made the mistake in the past – not underestimating my opponent because I trained hard for the fight -but I got careless because I thought “this guy isn’t good enough.” Everything thing I threw at him, he was falling down, so I got careless and he knocked me out. It was a terrible experience for me and it was a setback for me in my career. That experience prepared me for this fight because of how it happened. It happened then and it could possibly happen with Wayne Barrett.
Having learned that lesson, I look at Wayne Barrett the same way I look at Artem Levin. He’s a guy that could potentially take away everything I earned and give me another giant setback in my career if I give him an opportunity, and the only way I can give him the opportunity is to get careless and not take him seriously.
Whether he’s at my level or not – and I don’t believe his is – I am still training really hard. I have a game plan I’m going to stick to and take care of business and show the world he is not on my level. He is an up-and-comer and he has a lot of potential in his career, but this fight has come too soon for him.
FS: Fantastic. As for the event itself, I believe this is the first time Glory is going to be held at the Theater in Madison Square Garden. It’s the theater, but it’s attached to the most recognizable arena in the world. It’s hosted many boxing and wrestling matches over the years. For you, what is it like to compete in such a well-known venue?
JS: It’s an honor to being fighting at The Garden. It’s a dream that every boxer, every combat sport athlete has always had. The epic boxing matches that have taken over the years, it’s definitely the No. 1 venue to fight in the U.S for sure. It’s an honor to be fighting there and it’s an honor to be fighting on Spike TV, in the main event. It’s amazing and another point in my career that I will look back on and have a satisfied feeling about.
FS: You actually answered my next question about fighting on Spike TV. To wrap up, you’ve traveled a long road and faced many challenges. What advice would you have for someone who wants to get into kickboxing, whether it is an amateur making the step up to pro, or just – and pardon the pun – Joe Smith wanting to step into the ring and train for the first time?
JS: The biggest thing for me is to find a good coach and somebody that wants to help you get better. Unfortunately there are a lot of gyms that teach watered-down kickboxing and it’s a 24 Hour Fitness program. If you want to fight, that’s not the way to go.
Find a good coach that you respect that is serious about teaching you. Listen to what he says and work really hard. For me over the years there’s always been stages in kickboxing where you learn a lot in three or four months and then you flatten out and you don’t get any better. You just have to stay consistent and keep working hard and do what you’re told. 99 percent of what could go wrong in a fight could been avoided if you would have listened to your trainer the first time. It took me several years to figure that out. It’s a very true statement.
FS: Amazing advice. Is there anyone would you like to give a shout out to?
JS: I’ve been here with my team the last couple of days, but my gym back home at The Yard Muay Thai in Los Angeles and all of my fans in Los Angeles who couldn’t be here with me, but will be watching me on Spike TV. I love you guys. I want to thank my team at The Yard Muay Thai and Can’t Stop Crazy.
FS: Thanks Joe, that’s all I have for you. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
JS: No problem, thank you. I really appreciate it.